This was how my story started…
The shotgun trembled in Hector’s grip, his crucifix tinkling across its twin barrels.
He was frightened – dry-mouthed, ass-puckered frightened – more frightened than when Mr. Sethman had come to their town meeting with his damned proposition. But this current fear wasn’t diluted by misgivings and second-thoughts. This fear was final.
And this was how the rejection started…
Choosing which stories to accept has been a difficult decision, and we regret that we won’t be taking it for the collection. It was a very creative semi-western, semi-gothic, all-wonderfully-bonkers-and-evocative piece, and we hope that it finds a home elsewhere.
Ugh. It’s enough to grip my crucifix. Or to put my shotgun in my mouth.
I’d been following this collective series for some time (even reviewing them someplace on this site). I’d had this plan, once I got the tempo, pace and length of their stories figured, to submit a nicely wicked piece, something they would be sure to love. Once their new submission notices went up, I plotted my short story (it had to do with trains – I know my trains) and wrote it out. Cleaned it, polished it, groomed it. Got it all ready.
See, it isn’t about the money. It’s about writing something that people will notice, and in the authors’ blurb, they’d mention my books and my site. And that could be a way to get that invaluable writer’s cred, the notice that leads to more notice, and soon I’m churning out wretched best sellers, just like those other goons.
But my plans didn’t factor in getting rejected.
I’m not really sure why. I might have tried too hard and overwrote. I might have been too technical. I might have caught them on a bad day. Whatever. But now I’ve got this story that I can’t use anywhere else, a very tight tale of a man who doesn’t wish to send his daughter on a one way trip to Hell.
But we’re writers. We gotta come off that mat, again and again. We gotta keep taking those low punches, even when undeserving twits get the agents, the book deals, and the placement on the NYTBS. I saw one of these knobs at a show I boothed. He was wearing leather pants, for Christ sakes. And I gotta schlock books around on a cart while he breezes in and sells?
Yes, that wonderful odor of rejection.
If you are reading this column, you are probably a writer. You know the feeling of getting that SASE back, of all the love and effort that goes into your novel, only to have it languish in a lousy word file (and not between covers, as it should). I know about it. And nobody else will tell you because nobody else knows how it feels. But I know. Your book is great. It deserves a place in the library stacks. It does. And you’ll get it there.
Now spit that bloody water back into the bucket, climb off your stool, and get back into the ring.